Major Dhyan Chand, often viewed as ‘The Wizard’ or ‘The Magician of Hockey’ was born on August 29, 1905. He was part of the Indian hockey team which struck gold in the Olympics of 1928, 1932, and 1936. Dhyan Chand is a legendary figure in the Indian and world hockey.
The Government of India decided to celebrate his birthday as National Sports Day since 2012 in honour of the great player. Every year, President of India confers the National Sports Awards on National Sports Day to celebrate the achievements of Indian athletes. Major Dhyan Chand Award is the top award in sports in India.
On the occasion of his 115th birth anniversary, we have brought to you some interesting facts about the hockey player:
- Dhyan Chand was born on 29 August 1905 in Allahabad. His father was in the British Indian Army, and he played hockey in the army.
- Chand started playing hockey when he joined the Indian Army at the age of 16, as a sepoy. It was between 1922 and 1926 where Chand played army hockey tournaments and regimental matches. He retired from the Army in 1956 at the age of 51, with the rank of Major.
- On May 17, 1928, the Indian national hockey team made its Olympic debut against Austria, winning 6–0, with Chand scoring 3 goals. Dhyan Chand scored the most number of goals at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics. He scored 14 goals.
- During the Los Angeles Olympics, Chand along with his brother Roop scored 25 out of the 35 goals by India. During the Berlin Olympics, Chand once again was selected without formalities. Chand top-scored with 3 goals, Dara scored 2 and Roop Singh, Tapsell and Jaffar one each to defeat Germany in the finals for 8-1.
- Chand’s autobiography, Goal!, was published by Sport & Pastime, Madras in 1952.
- The ace hockey player was diagnosed with liver cancer and died on December 3, 1979. The Government of India renamed The National Stadium in Delhi to Dhyan Chand National Stadium in 2002. The British Government has named an Astroturf hockey pitch in London after Chand.